Modern Self Propelled Cars

Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.

Modern Self Propelled Cars

Postby MikeCDN » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:40 pm

I love and miss seeing the RDCs of yesteryear on the train lines.

However, now in Toronto they're using a brand new self propelled rail cars for the link from Union Station to Pearson International Airport.

Does anybody know who made these units? Furthermore, why aren't other passenger lines using these types of vehicles? They're more efficient than a locomotive and two rail cars.

My thoughts,

M
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Re: Modern Self Propelled Cars

Postby Sir Ray » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:58 pm

The DMU's were built by Sumitomo. They also built the units for the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit.
Some reasons why DMUs are not common in North American today can be found in this thread, but they tend toward several common elements:
Not really enough demand in the market (perhaps this is a vicious cycle kind of thing)
FRA requires treating each unit as a locomotive, hence more inspections and reporting expense
Apparently not all that cost effectively for heavy passenger loads (which kind of makes sense, they are designed for low/medium density service unless you switch in and switch out units to different destinations on the fly, which B&M used to do with it's RDCs back in the day). Apparently it's 3 DMUs or less, otherwise loco-hauled coaches are more cost effective.
Until recently, FRA required extreme crash standards for such DMUs, increasing weight and cost.

Of course, such Modern Design DMUs (or as they are known in Japan - just DMUs) are common and popular in many other parts of the world, but North America, not so much.
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Re: Modern Self Propelled Cars

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:36 pm

Mike:

We also have a topic thread on the Union-Pearson Express that can be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=137&t=155508

This discussion is in the "General Discussion - Passenger Rail" section that is at the top
of the passenger rail forum pages if you choose to look there...

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Re: Modern Self Propelled Cars

Postby electricron » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:50 pm

Just wanted to add that SMART received their first DMU a week or so ago. Additionally, Portland also ordered one of these married pairs for their WES commuter train service.
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